Nice is very popular with tourists, so many vendors will speak English and/or Italian and most important signs and directions will have translations. A few cafes in the old town will have an English menu if you ask for it (Avez-vous une carte en anglais?)
Get a reminder of a few key phrases at http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/quickfix/ and taking a notepad is potentially helpful for numbers and improptu Pictionary.
Just do your best to start the conversation in French and they'll generally help out. Starting in English will get the same sort of reception you might expect walking into a shop in Australia or the UK and saying 'Bonjour, comment ca va?' about 8 years ago
I found that in Nice they were much more willing to help me out than in places like Paris.
Have a go with your terrible french and be happy and friendly about it, and they will be nice back to you.
Just learn some real basics: please, thankyou, where is... etc about 8 years ago
I agree with the above -- if you are nice, they are usually nice back to you. Though I would like to practice my french, I seem to LOOK very American because they all just look at me and start speaking in English. I've never had any problem in Nice. And, in the Old Town area there are a LOT of British ex-pats. On the rue Droite there is a wonderful pub serving GREAT food, run by Brits (on a corner with outdoor seating) over 7 years ago
One rule of thumb for all of France, it is expected that you greet the shopkeeper whenever you enter a store and always say goodbye - even if you haven't purchased anything.
"Bonjour" and "au revoir". If you can make the accent sound authentic (I always speak like Inspector Clouseau) even better. over 7 years agoAnswered by Lucky via WorldNomads.com